Prosecutors have dropped a charge against a man who flew into Miami International Airport from Barbados with a loaded firearm.
In security video footage exclusively obtained by NBC 6 Investigators, airline passenger Cameron Hinds is seen being stopped at a Miami International Airport checkpoint after Transportation Security Administration officers found a loaded handgun in his belongings late last year.
Hinds said he went through security in Barbados with the gun and then flew with it in his pants on the three-hour flight to Miami. The TSA notified Barbados of Hind’s ability to carry his gun on the flight, which took off from Grantley Adams International.
“The bottom line, there’s no place for a gun in an airplane — any airplane,” said Luca Benceni, a commercial pilot and flight instructor. “The danger is not just about killing or injuring somebody in the plane, but also damaging the aircraft structure."
Neval Greenidge, a Barbados top official in Miami, told NBC 6 in December about the findings of his government’s probe.
“The gentleman was searched. He was patted down. He was scanned, but the firearm seemed to have been under a laptop and I think that’s where the blunder came,” Greenidge said.
NBC 6 obtained the close-out memo from prosecutors, which shows Hinds had a concealed weapons permit in Barbados so he thought it was OK to fly with the gun and that he hadn’t been in trouble before, and he went to a firearms course in Florida — a requirement for the charge to be dismissed.
“The state attorney’s office looks at a multitude of factors,” said Jonathan Meltz, a criminal defense attorney in Miami.
Meltz said prosecutors balanced the serious charge with Hinds' history and cooperation. He says the incident itself is what’s frightening.
“What’s most scary to us is this happened with someone who had no ill will no bad intent," Meltz said. "If it could happen with him on the airplane, what about the folks who are really bad and evil and do intend to create harm and cause havoc? What could they do?"
The TSA sent a statement saying: "The TSA — true to our mission — stopped the gun in Miami. Our international operations then took immediate action to work with the Government of Barbados to assure that this was an anomaly and that corrective action was taken. The TSA conducts foreign airport assessments around the world on a regular basis to validate that each airport with direct flights into the United States is following the strict standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)."
American Airlines told NBC 6 in a previous statement, “The safety and security of our team members and customers is our top priority. We are aware of this incident and have worked closely with law enforcement on their investigation.”
NBC 6 attempted to contact Hinds but his international phone number was disconnected.